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State Department sanctions 2 former presidents of El Salvador

The State Department announced Wednesday it was imposing sanctions on two former Salvadoran presidents and dozens of other officials and judges in Central America.

The report said that those sanctioned “have knowingly engaged in actions that undermine democratic processes or institutions, significant corruption or obstruction of investigations” into corruption in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

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The extensive list, which also includes heads of banks, judges and high ranking officials, underscores the depth of corruption across the region.

It has become a key talking point in Guatemala’s current tumultuous election cycle as the political establishment attempts to quash competition, and it frequents the discourse of populist El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, who has adopted the catchphrase “there’s enough money when no one steals it.”

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Despite accusations by the Biden administration that Bukele also negotiated with gangs, and civil society raising alarms that the millennial leader has been taking steps that eat away at the country’s democracy, Bukele’s name was not on the list of those sanctioned.

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